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Home » Seneca County » Cayuga Lake has one of NY’s highest rates of HABs: What does it mean?

Cayuga Lake has one of NY’s highest rates of HABs: What does it mean?

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Recent data from the New York State Department Environmental Conservation shows Cayuga Lake has experienced a spike in harmful algal blooms, surpassing all other water bodies in New York.


An environmental data firm, Toxics Targeting, released a map tracking over 180 such blooms statewide and has called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to address the burgeoning issue.

According to the firm, the root cause of these harmful blooms is excessive nutrients like phosphorus, often stemming from sewage discharges, agricultural runoff, and uncontrolled stormwater.

Cayuga Lake has one of NY’s highest rates of HABs: What does it mean?

Cayuga Lake saw its initial algal blooms in the early summer, with June accounting for over 30 incidents.

To date, the DEC has recorded a minimum of 60 harmful blooms in the lake, with 17 new cases in just the past two weeks. While Seneca Lake reported a similar number of recent blooms, the neighboring Owasco Lake reported only a single small bloom.

The DEC warns the public to exercise caution, as distinguishing harmful blooms from non-harmful ones can be challenging. These blooms can appear as spilled green paint and thrive in warm, calm waters with high nutrient levels.